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Oxfordshire sundial trail

This sundial trail was compiled by Piers Nicholson,and covers the county to the north of Oxford. There is a separate trail for the City of Oxford which has some very fine public sundials as well as the excellent "Museum of the History of Science" containing a magnificent collection of portable sundials from all countries of the world. You may also be interest in Oxford Sundials by Margaret Stanier which gives colour photographs and descriptions of 13 dials in the City. Oxford also contains an

This trails starts in the north of the county near Banbury.

Wroxton

sundial milestone in Wroxton, OxfordshireThe village of Wroxton is 2 miles outside Banbury on the A422 to Stratford-on-Avon, and should be called the "sundial capital of Oxfordshire" since it has many more sundials than any other village in the country. On a crossroads just to the west of the village is a very fine sundial with 4 faces pointing north, south, east and west. Underneath are carved stone hands pointing the way to London, Banbury and other places.

There is also a dial on the south wall of Wroxton church, and nearby a small ceramic sundial in the wall of the Old Workshop. Further down the street, the North Arms has a fine old dial with the motto "Sic transit Gloria mundi" (Thus passes the glory of the world)

Sundial at Wroxton  on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.uk  
Further along by the duck pond (which has a thatched duck house on a little island in the middle) there is a fine painted dial with the initials CSE and the date 1752 on the Old Post Office. A few doors up the street is the Sundial Farmhouse, which has had a dial for hundreds of years; the present one is modern and unfortunately does not tell the right time.

There is one more dial in Wroxton, on a house called Crossways on your left which you can just see from the road as you leave the village towards Banbury

Banbury

There is an old black-and-white half-timbered building in the High Street in the pedestrianised centre of Banbury, with some lovely old plasterwork. There is an old painted wooden dial, now with much of its paint peeling, but still very beautiful.

Bodicote

Sundial at Bodicote on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.uk Bodicote is just off the A4260 south of Banbury, and is now almost a suburb. The church has a good-looking lead dial high up on its south wall. Travelling south again on the A4260, it is worth making a diversion along the B4031 (though it is a bit off the route, the village of

Great Tew

which for many years was in a kind of "time warp". It is now being sympathetically restored by its new owners. The church is down a tree-lined walk, and has a sundial with a great gnomon but no hour lines on the porch. Inside, there are some very interesting medieval paintings. Returning eastwards, just across the A4260 is the small village of

Middle Aston

Home Farm House has a sundial on its south gable, probably dating from the 17th century. The owners, Glen and Caroline Parsons, also do an excellent bed-and-breakfast. It is the ideal base for visits to Oxford, Stratford, and all the places listed in this sundial trail. Their telephone number if (+44) 1869 340 666

Steeple Aston

Double sundial at Steeple Aston  on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.uk This large village is a couple of miles to the south, and the church has two vertical dials at right angles on the skyline of the south wall, so that you can tell the time all day.

Rousham

A mile to the south, you cross the B4030 at traffic lights, and continue straight on following the signs to Rousham House. This is a very fine country home built in 1635 and enlarged in 1730, when the gardens were laid out by William Kent. There is a sundial in the grounds.

Lower Heyford

Back to the traffic lights and turn right. You cross the Oxford Canal with its colourful narrow boats, and the village of Lower Heyford is just off the road to the left. The church has a modern dial with the motto "Nil nisi coelestio p.a dio"

Bicester

Bicester is a pleasant little market town. One of the houses in the market place has a nice modern sundial

Weston on the Green

Leaving Bicester by the busy A41, the village of Weston on the Green is just off to the right after 3 miles or so. The Chequers pub is nearly facing you as you come off the slip road. It has a nice dial, though somewhat neglected now, outside the main door. There is also a sundial on the church in the village. Following the narrow road on from the church, you come to the village of

Bletchington.

The church has a weathered stone dial from the 17th century on the south wall. Follow the B4027 west for a few miles and then turn south for

Woodstock

which has a number of sundials. There is one high up on the south wall of the church, and an interesting modern sundial angled slightly out from the wall so it faces due south in an alcove on the wall of the Town Hall at the end of the main square.
Sundial on Woodstock church  on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.uk Sundial of Woodstock Town Hall  on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.uk

Blenheim Palace

is well worth an extended visit for the beauty of its landscape, the splendour of the house, and its historic associations. There is a "human gnomon" analemmatic sundial in the middle of the maze in the pleasure gardens. Follow the A44 north out of Woodstock; the village of

WoottonSunidial at Wootton  on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.uk

is just off it to the right. There is a memorial to the villagers who fell in the first world war, which has a south facing sundial, and another more ancient sundial, which is just being restored, over the door of the church. Continue westward and join the B4437 to

Charlbury

Sundial on Charlbury Church  on  the  Oxfordshire sundial trail on www.sundials.co.ukwhich has an interesting dial dated 1776 over the church door. Charlbury is a thriving market town with a good train service. Retrace your path of the B4437 and then turn right through Stonesfield to

Combe

This is an interesting village, rather isolated being at the back of the Blenheim Estate, but very peaceful and tranquil, with an interesting layout and some fine houses. The church has a sundial high up on its south wall

There are also many fine sundials in the city of Oxford

For a full overview of Sundials on the Internet click here
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